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Common prostate treatment increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease

December 21, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Men with prostate cancer have a nearly two-fold increase in developing Alzheimer’s disease if they were treated with androgen deprivation therapy, according to a new study published in advance online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“The association found in this study should be evaluated in the context of the overall treatment choices available to any specific patient,” says senior study author Nigam Shah, MBBS, PhD, associate professor of biomedical informatics research at Stanford in a news release.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine analyzed electronic medical records from about 5.5 million people at two hospitals. Using software to extract clinical diagnoses and codes, they identified about 18,000 prostate patients, 16,888 of whom had non-metastic prostate cancer. A total of 2,397 had been treated with ADT.

Those men had about a 1.88 times higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease during a compared with prostate cancer patients who did not receive ADT, researchers found. Men treated with ADT for longer than 12 months had a 2.12 times higher risk.

The hormone testosterone, the primary androgen that controls the development of male characteristics, can promote the growth of prostate tumors. Beginning in the 1940s, clinicians have used use androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to lower testosterone and other androgens. About 500,000 men in the United States currently receive ADT as a treatment for prostate cancer.

Access the article here.

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